How can I get the music of an old Windows 98 drive onto a Mac Powerbook running Panther?
February 8, 2004 2:24 PM   Subscribe

I have a large hard drive that was in my Win 98 machine. It's got 50 gb of MP3s on it that I bought over 3 years at emusic. However, I now have a Mac (powerbook) with Panther. I have an external firewire enclosure for that drive and when I plug it into the Mac, it sees the drive (appears on the desktop) but can't read or write to it (tells me I have to format it). How can I get the music off of it? I want to move the music onto a different external firewire drive that I bought with the Mac and where the music I bought since switching sits.
posted by dobbs to Computers & Internet (13 answers total)
Do you still have the Win98 machine? If you do, just drop the drive with the mp3s back into there, hook the new FireWire drive up to the Mac, and then network the two computers together with an Ethernet cable. You should be able to mount the Windows box on the Mac and get the files over that way.
posted by donkeymon at 2:52 PM on February 8, 2004

I think dobbs is saying that he has a firewire *enclosure* (i.e. 'case' and adapter) to hold the Win98's internal that right? In that case, I am fairly sure that OSX can't read Windows-formatted partitions (could be wrong, but I think it can only play nice with Windows over a network, i.e. Samba shares, and can't actually read FAT or NTFS drive partitions). Which would cause the error you're seeing.

In which case, yes, your best bet is to network them together somehow and transfer the files that way (using Windows drive sharing, which OSX can make use of, or using some file transfer method like FTP or SCP). Or I could be wrong and there's some way to make OSX read the Windows-formatted hard drive (3rd party util, kernel extension, or whatever).

What format is the Windows drive in? Since it's Win98 I assume it's FAT-32...
posted by cyrusdogstar at 6:46 PM on February 8, 2004

Virtual PC should do the trick. It's an awful piece of software, and it costs $130, but it should solve your problem. Of course, you could just download a free copy from Kazaa, use it once and throw it away... but that doesn't sound like the behavior of one who bought 50 gb of mp3s from emusic. Ahem.
posted by squirrel at 7:37 PM on February 8, 2004

Jebus, surely there's an easier way than buying virtual PC. How about the bootable gentoo distro that just came out for the Mac? That should have vfat support, so you could at least copy the files over to somewhere else a few at a time.. perhaps there's a way to convert a filesystem, but I don't know it. Hell, the BSD-layer of OS X might even have a way to get to a fat32 filesystem.. All this Unix stuff has to be good for something, after all.
posted by Space Coyote at 8:05 PM on February 8, 2004

Jebus, surely there's an easier way than buying virtual PC.

Yes, like the networking suggestions above. I don't see a reason why it wouldn't work.

This article from the Apple Knowledge Base may provide some guidance.
posted by anathema at 8:39 PM on February 8, 2004

Yeah, exactly what donkeymon said.
posted by anathema at 8:41 PM on February 8, 2004

it can only play nice with Windows over a network, i.e. Samba shares, and can't actually read FAT or NTFS drive partitions

Nope, OS X most assuredly can mount FAT32 volumes. There's something else going on here, and you shouldn't have to resort to networking machines to fix it.
posted by jjg at 11:01 PM on February 8, 2004

Nope, OS X most assuredly can mount FAT32 volumes.

And NTFS volumes too (though NTFS volumes are read-only).
posted by kindall at 11:18 PM on February 8, 2004

If you had a desktop Mac, my suggestion would be to connect the drive directly to the internal IDE bus rather than using a FireWire enclosure. Not real practical with a PowerBook though.
posted by kindall at 11:19 PM on February 8, 2004

You could try loading Linux on your Mac... ;-)
posted by shepd at 11:22 PM on February 8, 2004

You know, I never thought I'd see the day when something's easier to do on a PC or Linux box than on a Mac...
posted by SpecialK at 8:03 AM on February 9, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks all. I'll try networking after I put the PC back together. I tried it before, pre-Panther, without success. It's probably me though.
posted by dobbs at 11:43 AM on February 9, 2004

I may have an answer as to why it's not working, which may interest you, but will not likely help you. In the end, I would go with the networking solution....

Win98 and older machines do not handle larger hard drives in the same (and proper) way that modern machines do. Win98 doesn't properly understand larger hard-drives (though it can fake it well enough to use them), and older BIOSes have to use some pretty wierd internal mechinastions to read and write larger drivers.

What is likely getting in the way your Mac reading the win98 drive is that the drive is formatted in a strange way that win98 (or your older machine) can understand but that doesn't properly follow the specification. So, the Mac in trying to follow the spec can't figure out how to properly read the drive and sees an unformatted drive.
posted by jaded at 1:34 PM on February 9, 2004

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